Top 5 Best Whole House Water Filters (*2020 Review*)

Are you interested in learning about the best whole house water filters?

Whole house water filters are effective systems that can filter out chlorine, heavy metals, pesticides, and other contaminants.

In this article, I will go over...

  • My #1 top choice for the best whole house water filter
  • The overall benefits of having a whole house water filter
  • How whole house systems compare to under sink water filters
  • A quick overview on installing a whole house water filter system

Let’s get started with this guide!

best whole house water filters

Our Overall #1 Rated Pick

aquasana whole house water filter
  • Removes 97% of chlorine found in regular tap water
  • Smarter and dual tank design (with pre and post filters) for high performance filtration
  • 1 million gallons or 10-years for main filter (less than $0.01 per gallon)
  • Quality materials and high durability
  • Includes brass fittings and shutoff valves

My overall #1 top pick for the best whole house water filter is made by Aquasana. It is a dual-tank 3-stage filter system.  The filter is an intelligent system that uses innovative Scale Control Media (SCM) which is a cartridge that conditions and filters your water. The water system is designed to remove 97% chlorine and heavy metals such as lead, mercury, nickel as well as organic chemicals like pesticides.

What Are Whole House Water Filters?

Whole house water filters are systems designed to filter water for the entire house --- not just a single sink.

In my experience as a home inspector, the most common water filters are for the kitchen sink and the refrigerator water filter. These point of use of water filters are designed for a single fixture or appliance. 

In contrast, a whole house water filter will filter a home's water for EVERY shower, sink, and appliance in the entire home. The main use of a whole house water filter is for smell and taste.

The municipal water filtration plant already has standards for safe drinking water --- though how much you trust the government standard is up to you. The Flint Michigan lead water crisis comes to mind.

Anyways, whole house water filters are largely designed to greatly reduce chlorine, chemicals, and sediments. Some whole house water filters also have ultraviolet lights to kill microbes. And the main maintenance requirement of whole house water filters is periodically changing the filters.

Read Also: The Best Whole House Water Filters For Iron

Read Also: Buying a House With Polybutylene Pipes?

What Are The Benefits Of A Whole House Water Filtration System?

Before any homeowner decides to install a whole house water filter, it is good to know some of the benefits that can come with using one. These benefits include the following…

Improved Taste 

Although chlorine is used to disinfect drinking water and is safe at an appropriate level --- it can lead to poor tasting drinking water.  Poor tasting water is the number one reason people invest in water filtration systems --- just make sure the filter explicitly states that it improves taste.

Hair & Skin

Chlorine can also have a negative affect on skin and hair for sensitive individuals. This is the main reason why shower head filters are becoming so popular which is not necessary with whole house filtration systems.

Sediment Removal 

Often times seeing dirt or particles in water is irritating to most people even if the water is safe for drinking. Installing a whole house water filter ensures that particles such as dirt, rust, and sand are removed from the water from the main source.

Microbial Disinfection

Some whole house water filters feature UV light systems which are designed to disinfect the water as well as filter it. These types of systems are more appropriate for homes with well water.

Odor Reduction

A whole house water filter can minimize or eliminate off smells such as sulfur or chlorine from your water. 

Heavy Metals

Some whole house water filters are designed to filter heavy metals such as lead and mercury. Lead is a scary thing, and even "acceptable levels" of lead in municipal water isn’t acceptable to everyone. A whole home water filter can greatly reduce the amount of lead in your water.

water filter size in microns (1)

How to Install a Whole House Water Filter?

Even though installing a whole house water filter can be a DIY job, for most homeowners, it is advisable to hire a competent plumber to install it. Buying the product yourself will always save money and then you just pay for labor.

Most whole house filters already come with the fittings, water shutoff valves, and other components needed to install the filter system.

Here is a quick breakdown of how to install a whole house water filter...

Step 1: Find the right location for your water filter. A whole house water filter is usually installed AFTER the main water shutoff (and water meter). You may want to install the water filter after it branches for the exterior hose bibs. It's advisable to install it in a location that is accessible so you can easily change the filter.

Step 2: Shut off the main water supply

Step 3: Open a faucet at the lowest possible point in the home to drain all the water left in the pipe lines.

Step 4: Cut and remove the piping section for the filter using a tubing cutter. Make sure the length accounts for the whole system including any valves and fittings.

Step 5: Smooth the ends of the newly cut pipes

Step 6: Install the shutoff valves on both ends

Step 7: Mount the whole house water filter using the manufacturer provided bracket and bolts (and seal any threaded ends using Teflon tape to prevent leaks).

Step 8: You will need to solder or glue the pipe joints. If you use push fittings, you may not need to.

Step 9: Turn water back on. Now it's time to flush the system with cold water from a faucet. If you have a carbon filter, run the water until and blackness (carbon dust) goes away. You may also see cloudiness for a day or two which are air bubbles from the carbon filter and is normal.

Read Also: My 7 Pros And Cons of Hot Water Recirculating Pumps (Worth It?)

How To Pick The Best Whole House Water Filter?

Before you purchase a whole house water filter, there are certain things you will need to consider in order to select the best one. Things like…

Present Water Quality

For instance, if your water is provided by municipal services, then you want to focus on improving the water taste and removing any odors. If your water source is from a private well, then the water may have high levels of chemicals, pesticides, or heavy metals such as iron.

Budget

Some whole house water systems can exceed one thousand dollars, but others can be purchased for less than $100. If you need just a basic sediment filter that can improve water taste, then a cheaper filter may be your best option.

Flow Rate

Before you purchase a whole house water filter, it is essential to know the flow rate of the filter and of your household. The flow rate is the amount of water used as gallons per minute. The average household will have a 10 to 50-GPM water usage.

If your family uses 30-GPM, and your filter is rated for 10-GPM, then there will be a significant drop in water pressure during peak water usage. Try to determine your households GPM during peak water use by adding up all of your plumbing fixtures flow rates in use (look for the GPM data on the back of the toilets, vanities etc.)

Filter Size & Longevity

There are various sizes of whole house water filters available. A large filter can service high water supply and have a long service life. Some filters are made to last for up to 10 years without changing. There is usually still a pre and post filter requiring frequent changing.

Certification

Great whole house water filters are certified by NSF or ANSI. This is because they comply with quality standards and specifications.

Read Also: How Does A Hot Water Recirculating Pump Work?

How Are Whole Home Water Filters Different From Other Systems?

It was reported by North Dakota State University that the major home filtration products are sediment filters, activated carbon filters, and mixed media. Most home water filters employ one or a combination of the these filters and they are mostly used because of their efficiency and range of use when compared to other types of filter.

For instance, while reverse osmosis, one of the most widely used filtration systems, is convenient and effective for water filtration, it is used only at the point of use, specifically under the sink.

This means that every other source of water in the house is not filtered. Also, it is more costly to have the reverse osmosis filtration systems installed at every nook of your house than having a single filtration system.

Apart from the points mentioned above, whole house water filtration systems have high flow rates (thousands of gallons of water per day). In general, a whole house water filter reduces cost, is easy to maintain, and has lower maintenance.

Read Also: Top 3 Best Rated Hot Water Recirculation Systems

Where To Buy The Best Whole Home Water Filter?

There are many outlets—both online and offline—that sell whole house water filters. However, it is important that when you want to buy your water filter, you should look for a place that sells quality whole house water filters.

In my opinion, Amazon is a great market to find a whole house water filter because you can choose from a variety of products, and read an extensive amount of customer reviews. Amazon also has a great return policy, and shipping is usually very fast…sometimes free.

My Reviews Of The Best Whole Home Water Filters

Here are my top picks for the best whole house water filter with some of their pros and cons...

My #1 top pick for best whole house water filter is the Aquasana 10-Year Filter System.

This water filter is rated for up to 1 million gallons of water or 10 years. It uses a main Rhino tank (with carbon filtration) and a pre-filter and post-filter.

The pre and post filters are changed every 1-3 months based on sediment levels.

  • Removes 97% of chlorine found in regular tap water
  • Dual tank design with pre & post filtration
  • Comes with brass fittings, water shutoffs, and bend supports
  • Expensive
  • Poor customer service

The Express Water 3-Stage Filter System is a high quality water filration system that is a single stage focused on heavy metals removal.

The first stage is for sediment filtration, and the third stage is the carbon filter.

This system includes pressure gauges so you can monitor how each filter is functioning. The product also comes with a free standing frame that makes it easier to install and to change filters.

It is rated for about 100,000 gallons or 6 months of use.

  • Focused on heavy metals removal
  • Clear first stage filter to monitor
  • Easy installation with free standing frame
  • Customer complaints of leaks
  • Expensive

The iSpring 3-Stage Whole House Water Filtration System is an economical and quality choice for water filtering -- it removes 99% of chlorine and 95% of sediment.

It includes two carbon filters and one sediment filter which are all replaceable.

The see through nature of the system allows you to visually inspect when the filters need replacing.

The capacity is 100,000 gallons or about 1 year of usage.

  • Removes 99% of chlorine and 95% of sediments
  • See through system for visually gauging performance
  • Less costly
  • Customer complaints of leaking
  • Average quality filters

The EcoPure whole house water filter is one of the cheapest whole house water filters but yet possesses a great filtration capacity at 5 microns.

It is NSF certified for its durability and reduces chlorine to the smallest levels. It filters sediment, sand, rust, and odors leaving your water pure and healthy.

The water filter is easily replaced with an automatic bypass so you don't have to turn off the water to the home just to replace the filter.

The manufacturer of this filter system, EcoPure, has been one of the leading providers of cleaner water since 1925.

  • Easy filter replacement without shutting off water to house
  • EcoPure has been in the industry since 1925
  • Low price
  • More expensive filters
  • Bi-annual filter replacement
  • Lower quality materials

The Culligan water filter was built not only for sediment from your home such as dirt, rust, sediment, and sand in your home, but also for protecting all of your appliances that come in contact with your water. 

While it reduces dirt, sediment, bad taste, and odor, it also eliminates scale and corrosive chemicals that harm your appliances rust.

The system features a mounting bracket, clear housing, bypass, water shutoff, filter life indicator, and pressure relief valve. The bypass shut-off valve ensures that water still runs through your home whenever the filter is getting replaced.

  • Sediment filter but can also remove bad tastes and odors (depending on filter type)
  • Features bypass shut-off valve to keep water running during replacement
  • Efficient removal of odor and taste
  • Carbon filter not included
  • Lower quality materials

Our Top Pick: Aquasana 3-Stage Whole House Water Filter System

If you have been paying attention all along, it is no surprise that our top pick is the Aquasana Whole House Water Filter. Among all the whole house water filters available today, this is our #1 top pick because...

1. Quality Filters For Great Taste

The Aquasana water filter system has the capacity to remove 97% of chlorine for great tasting water. It will also filter nasty metals such as lead and mercury. It will also filter unwanted chemicals such as herbicides and pesticides. 

2. 10-Year Filter

The main filter cartridge is a Rhino dual tank design that lasts 10 years or 1 million gallons of water. This means it costs less than $0.01 per gallon. The pre and post filters are changed around every 3 months.

3. Installation Kit

The Aquasana system comes with quality brass fittings, water shutoff valves, and pipe bend supports.

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Arie Van Tuijl

Arie Van Tuijl

Arie is the founder of Home Inspector Secrets, an online resource dedicated to helping owners and buyers understand homes. He is a licensed home inspector in two U.S states and also owns a residential and commercial inspection company.

About Home Inspector Secrets

Home Inspector Secrets is an online resource for owners, buyers, and sellers to understand all aspects of home ownership. We have detailed home guides, product reviews, inspection advice, buying tips, and much more.